Metro Weekly

Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Willow and Tara reflect on groundbreaking relationship

Alysson Hannigan and Amber Benson discussed lesbian romance during 20th anniversary reunion

Tara (Amber Benson) and Willow (Alyson Hannigan)

“It was a beautiful relationship, and it wasn’t gratuitous, it wasn’t about two girls making out, it was about two people who both happen to identify as female who fall in love.”

Amber Benson, reflecting on the relationship between Willow and Tara in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The cast of Joss Whedon’s incredible show reunited for a 20th anniversary celebration in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, and Benson — who played Tara — and Alyson Hannigan reflected on the groundbreaking lesbian romance depicted in the show.

“There definitely hadn’t been a gay character that had been on a show from the beginning,” Hannigan said. “This was a character that you got to see the journey, that was very groundbreaking. The fact that it was such a non-issue was so great, and that’s how it should be.”

In particular, the show depicted their relationship as normal and accepted by the other members of the demon-slaying Scooby Gang.

“They were good to each other…. It was a normal relationship,” Benson said. “We got a lot of young letters… there were a lot of young people who felt very isolated, and to see two characters on a television show be accepted by a group of peers changed the game.”

The relationship was notable, as Willow had been in a heterosexual relationship with Seth Green’s character Oz in earlier seasons. It was a natural exploration of Willow’s sexuality that drew praise from viewers and critics alike.

Benson said: “It’s saying, if you find somebody to love, you’re just lucky. It doesn’t matter the gender, the sex or whatever, if you find somebody who gets you and you get them, you’re so lucky.”

Joss Whedon added Tara into the Buffy canon because he was struggling to create a character to follow Seth Green.

Speaking to EW, he said: “Well, Willow’s in college, so maybe she finds a girlfriend. That was an important thing for people to see, but really I wasn’t thinking about that!

“As much as I wanted to make a feminist show, I really missed a lot of what was going to be important about the show. I thought that was just what you’d do.”

The full Entertainment Weekly spread hits newsstands Friday, but check out some amazing portraits of the cast here.

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.